So you have arrived in Spain and are looking forward to starting this new adventure! While you are getting settled, one of the main hurdles you will be faced with is financing your adventure! While being a language and cultural assistant (or auxiliar in Spanish) you will be in the center of one of the most fascinating countries on Earth, while also being at the doorstep of a hotbed of other countries. This all sounds enticing… and expensive. As an auxiliar, you will be making 1000€ in Madrid (700€ a month in the rest of Spain), for only nine months of the year. Now that is sufficient to live on in Spain, but only if you plan on staying in Spain for the whole time and only go out twice a week. BUT, in case you happen to be here to see and do as much as time, sanity and money allow, then you might want to consider making some money on the side. There are a variety of ways, but the most prolific is teaching private lessons, either to individual students or to a small group. Here are some pointers if you want to go this route:
Time VS. Money
Now, at first this process might not seem that daunting; basically, do your day job (helping students learn English) and for private lessons, one-on-one tutoring. This can help supplement your income by hundreds of euros of money, but it does come with a major time commitment. You are already working 16 hours a week at a minimum with a two-hour long break in the middle of the day (Spain’s infamous siesta) included and a fairly long commute. After a full work-day of screaming children, then you would have private lessons afterward, which can be anywhere from one to three hours. That means most days are typically 12-14 hours of tantrums, commuting, prepping lessons and going on errands. You will make money, but you will be exhausted most of the time. Just make sure to consider the time commitment first, because then you can budget for the rest of the year to figure out if you want to take on more private lessons or not. It is best to start looking for tutoring in August or September because a lot of families are looking for long-term and consistent tutoring for the upcoming school year. As the year goes on, it becomes harder to get consistent private lessons.
Where To Look
There are a good amount of resources for finding private lessons. These are the best to find private lessons:
- Tusclasesparticulares.es: This is a website where teachers/tutors can look for students and vice versa. Post a profile and have it in both English and Spanish. (cost: 2,90€/year)
- Teachers and parents will ask for tutoring at your school, and you can ask your director to put up a sign offering private lessons on your behalf.
- The auxiliar facebook group is a great all-around resource and fellow auxiliars are constantly swapping private lessons.
- Vipkid.com: This is a live online tutoring job where you can do it anywhere with wi-fi. You go through an interview process and then teach in 30-minute class sets.
- Academies hire English teachers and are a consistent income. Apply early!
Tarifas: Your Fee
In my opinion, you shouldn’t take any tutoring job that is less than 15€/hour, unless it is for more than one hour with the same student. Once you calculate travel time and lesson planning, anything less isn’t worth it. It’s also better to tutor online, this way travel costs are reduced. I recommend having two tiers: 15€/hour for in-person conversation private lessons; 20€/hour for focused lessons. Most people will opt for the latter because the first seems a bit too expensive for just conversation. This is better for you, too, because lesson planning is something you can do on your way to your private lessons so it doesn’t take more time out of your day than a strict conversation private lesson.
3 Tips For Lesson Planning
If you are helping students with their homework and tests or just have conversation private lessons, you won’t have to lesson plan too much. However, if you are giving a structured private lesson, below are a few tips that might help:
- Tailor lessons to each student for maximum progress. For example, if a student has a sufficient level of vocabulary but their pronunciation isn’t that good, work on a pronunciation lesson, instead of teaching more grammar. Once that student has pronunciation under their belt, the student’s progress will soar!
- Split the class into segments. Consider having an hour-long class divided into two or three 20 or 30-minute sections. One section for focusing on that particular student’s weakness, another part for conversation, and a third for them to present something to you in English. This makes the class go by more quickly and the student has something to focus on between private lessons.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of online resources for English Second Language (ESL) resources online that will help you build a structured lesson. For children ages 3 to 13 I also recommend including some games with your lesson plan.
Hit The Ground Running!
In the end, private lessons can really benefit you financially while you are in Spain but they do take their toll. The perfect scenario would be a student or students that want daily private lessons for more than an hour, so you have something consistent. But however you piece together your tutoring schedule, just make sure it works for you and don’t be afraid to pass a student onto a fellow auxiliar if it becomes too stressful. Good luck out there and happy tutoring!